This is a short yet powerful novella that follows a woman as she sits by her dying father. As she narratives his final days we find out more about the man and his family, how each of his children have deal with their grief and how death can both unite and divide them.
There is a skill to writing a good novella. The prose has to be fluid yet tightly held together, providing a myriad of information in a succinct but entertaining way. This is such a novella. The unnamed narrator guides us through parts of her life, filling the pages with details of her dysfunctional and broken family history, introducing us to siblings and giving a glimpse into the life of the man that lays close to death upstairs.
It is hard to provide a lengthy review for such a short novella for fear of revealing too much and spoiling the story. That said, every reader will take away something different from the book. It may be for some that the book resonates too close to experiences they have been through, though that may provide comfort to others. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and that is what this book discusses.
This book is an essay on grief, on how we can grieve for something that has not yet gone, that we can mourn the loss of an idea, a feeling, a certainty just as much as the loss of a person. Although written from one person’s view this book can resonate with anyone, for grief is a universal emotion, though it may manifest itself in a myriad of ways, the underlying feelings are expertly expressed in The Language of Dying.
Whilst not an easy read this is a moving, thought-provoking look into loss.
I'm cognizant of the fact that I don't read enough books by women of color and that I read very few works of poetry. I decided to kill two birds with one stone by reading Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric. (Also, it's National Poetry Month so it was a no-brainer.) This book is especially relevant right now with the state of our world being what it is: a shambles. Citizen is essentially Claudia's exploration of what it is to be a black woman living in America as told through poetic verse. It is beautiful, tender, terrible, tragic, and real. She doesn't shy away from such topics as police brutality or the prevalence of feeling like an outsider. This book is a personal revelation and a public admonishment all rolled into one neat package Coupled with her verses are historical quotes and pencil drawn (I think?) artwork. What better way to begin your foray into poetry than by reading a book that challenges the status quo and speaks from the heart? If you'd like to maybe see the world through a different set of eyes Citizen is your golden ticket with many stops along the way. 9/10
I made a note of this quote on page 89 to give you an idea of just how powerful her words are:
Those years of and before me and my brothers, the years of passage, plantation, migration, of Jim Crow segregation, of poverty, inner cities, profiling, of one in three, two jobs, boy, hey boy, each a felony, accumulate into the hours inside our lives where we are all caught hanging, the rope inside us, the tree inside us, its roots our limbs, a throat sliced through and where we open our mouth to speak, blossoms, o blossoms, no place coming out, brother, dear brother, that kind of blue.
What's Up Next: From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty
What I'm Currently Reading: The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford
The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish is part memoir and part uplifting 'anyone can succeed' comedy. It was quite an interesting experience reading this on the heels of I've Got This Round as both are funny slice of life books by hilarious women. The main difference is that I felt more of a connection to Tiffany and honestly I think my own life story would read similarly. Tiffany faced a lot of challenges during her childhood but those challenges are what molded her into the strong adult that she is today. *cue dramatic music* (My story would have a lot less booze and sex for sure.) If you're bothered by books that are heavy on the vernacular combined with coarse language then I'm afraid this isn't the book for you. If you like reading about women who made it big despite the odds being stacked against them then it's your lucky day. The Last Black Unicorn has definitely made me want to watch her stand-up routine. In fact, it was her book promo on Trevor Noah's show that enticed me to pick up the book. I'm glad that I did. :-) From sending poorly written love notes to her school crush to pimping out the 'other woman' Tiffany has had a compelling life story that if nothing else will take you out of your own life for the hours you spend reading it. (I bet it's an absolute scream as an audiobook.) 9/10
A/N: It was at the end that I realized this was written by a ghost writer. I know that's common but I felt that it was necessary to make you aware just in case that was a no-no for any of you. This is essentially why it lost a point...and the overuse of vernacular didn't help either.
What's Up Next: Gorillas in the Mist by Dr. Dian Fossey
What I'm Currently Reading: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed